Idle More Likely or Idle No Maybe?
I don't know. Let's just say that when you'd half expect Old Winnetou to show up at one of these Idle No More flash mobs, you should be forgiven for doubting that much is going to come of it. More's the pity, too. There's a fighting chance that if the younger crowd pours out of the reserves and starts asserting itself at the vanguard of this thing - which isn't anything like a "movement," at least not yet, no matter how the less-than-assiduous in the media tents might like to describe it - it may go somewhere. But for now:
That's my take, in my Ottawa Citizen column today. I don't want to saddle my dear old comrade Ernie Crey with any of my notions - his views are his, and mine are mine - but I was both surprised and somewhat heartened that my own notes and observations are quite fully confirmed by his analysis, which I've always trusted: “We've got to get past this stage. There is no magic policy bullet that’s going to come out of some meeting with the prime minister or the Indian Affairs minister. We’re dealing with issues here that have bedeviled the very best of the aboriginal leadership for years.”
Another reason to be cautious is that the same radical-chic trendsetters who were proclaiming Occupism to be the magic formula that would overthrow corporate capitalism once and for all are now hyperventilating just as frantically, and in the same lexicon, about Idle No More. A bit like this, for instance, which is a slightly toned-down version for a change.
I was sufficiently wicked in my column to liken Occupymania with the Great Tanganyika Laughing Epidemic of 1962, which might have thrown some readers off. Here's what that was about: "The epidemic was characterized by episodes of laughing and crying. It is not only of interest from the sociological aspect but as it has disrupted the normal life of the community for six months, it is of considerable public health importance."
The other thing I might mention is that I'm a bit "conflicted" about Chief Theresa Spence and her hunger strike. It's a family thing. My dad was one of the heads of the Irish Prisoner of War Committee during the 1981 Hunger Strike campaign. Ten republicans starved themselves to death that year. It was, you could say, traumatic. It also just happens that I was named after Terence McSwiney, the playwright and Lord Mayor of Cork, who died on the 75th day of his hunger strike in Brixton Prison, in October, 1920.
I don't want a glorious funeral to be the way the story about Chief Theresa Spence ends.